Work Travels Sandwiching my Summer

My teammates in Atlanta

My summer was wrapped by work trips. I knew this, and thought it was a nice beginning and closure, but I’m blown away by how quickly everything happened.

My teammates in Atlanta
Jupiter – My Team at Automattic.

It seems like just yesterday that I was with my team at a meetup in Atlanta, Georgia. And I didn’t even write about it (aside from a brief mention another post)!

This was partially because I knew social media was flooded with the summaries of the trip from my teammates, partially from my lack of time to give it due diligence, and partially because I didn’t have the words to focus on how much the meetup meant to me. I kind of still don’t have the words but figure writing something is better than writing nothing at this point.

I truly love my job and my team and my other colleagues. It’s not just the ever-evolving world of technology that fascinates me. It’s the people. My heart and soul back up what we offer. And though my job and this medium, I get to meet amazing people like those of you who follow my site.

Yes, I know, there are flaws. But I also see the inside story and know we have a committed team of people constantly striving to make it possible for people to tell their stories, share information and promote businesses. This is not a simple task since people do all this from their homes and on the road, using different networks, different browsers and different devices. It is pretty amazing.

Once a year my team gets together for a week of learning and bonding. The days are filled with general support as well as sessions for further learning and discussion on how we can improve on what we offer. And UNO. Lots and lots of UNO. In Atlanta this year I learned a lot more about WooCommerce and also learned how to troubleshoot in cases where plugin conflicts break sites (for customers using our Business Plan).

My teammates and I also got to spend time bonding at the pool and at meals. One day I even got to go to the Georgia Aquarium, which was a trip highlight for me.

Now I am writing this post from the airport on my way to the full company meetup in Orlando, FL. Tomorrow evening will find me at the kickoff party with almost 1,000 colleagues for a week of super-intense learning and bonding.

I’m flying out today because we realize it’s a bad idea to leave customers without support as we all travel, so a bunch of Happiness Engineers (myself included) offered to arrive a day earlier and stay a day later at the end of the week so we can cover support while our co-workers travel. And they are doing the same for the days we travel.

It’s a real treat to see my colleagues live. We meet each other at various conferences and as teams shift, but we mostly talk online while we work using Slack. There are some fun things we are going to do, and there are also various classes and seminars offered. I’m okay at CSS thanks to past meetups, but have a long way to go so getting better at that will be one of my goals for my week.

Later this week, on Sept 14th, it will have been five years since I was hired to work as a Happiness Engineer (tech support for WordPress.com), and I still wake up every day thankful that I get to work. It’s a blessing I don’t take for granted.

Our Lisbon Meetup Begins :)

Since I work for a distributed company, I only get to see my coworkers in person twice a year. Last year my team met up in Durham, and this year it’s Lisbon. Another team is here at the same time, and another team will be coming halfway to the week so I get to see lots of my Automattic buddies. 

There is just something super exciting about knowing that your friends and coworkers are all on planes and trains and busses, heading your way for a week of in-person collaborations, learning and fun.

This picture shows where James and I are hanging out at our co-working office for the week. We are working outdoors as we wait for our teammates to arrive.